The Reykjavik Edition Is A Sleek Addition To The City’s Hotel Scene

Robert Roffulo

Tölt cocktail bar at The Reykjavik EDITION The Reykjavik EDITION The countryside in Iceland may be rustic, secluded and serene but it’s a very different picture in the capital Reykjavik. The city has quite a social scene, known for its blocks of clubs featuring artists in the very active music […]

The countryside in Iceland may be rustic, secluded and serene but it’s a very different picture in the capital Reykjavik. The city has quite a social scene, known for its blocks of clubs featuring artists in the very active music landscape, an array of cutting-edge restaurants and a growing list of sharp, contemporary hotels. The latest addition to that list opened in November: The Reykjavik EDITION, the new outpost of hotelier Ian Schrager’s EDITION Hotels in partnership with Marriott International.  

“Reykjavik is a really cool, young city -perfect for our brand,” according to Schrager. “We think this is Reykjavik’s time and we’re right here at the very heart of it and at the perfect time.”

The 253-room hotel is definitely in the city’s center, located in the historical section by Old Harbor Port adjacent to the Harpa concert hall but only a five minute walk to the thick of the club scene and Laugavegur, the main shopping street. Even within the city limits, though, guests are still connected to the natural landmarks for which Iceland is famous: Mt. Esja and the dramatic Snæfellsjökull glacier are visible from the rooms and suites of the hotel.

As designed by local architectural firm T.ark in conjunction with New York design firm Roman and Williams, the hotel’s style was conceived to be local in spirit but in sync with EDITION’s overall ethos of modern sophistication. The exterior of ebony shou sugi ban timber charred using an ancient Japanese technique combined with blackened steel frames is a nod to Iceland’s lava landscape. Just inside the entrance is an even more obvious one: a stacked basalt slate totem sculpture standing 13 feet high meant to represent the cairns that are scattered around the countryside. Surrounding it is a basalt bench lit by candlelight and electric lights and layered with black sheepskins and black damask and silk pillows meant to be a gathering spot from which guests can watch the digital artwork displaying video of the green and purple waves of Northern Lights. More volcanic rock basalt stone flooring etched with an intricate pattern inspired by Icelandic geometry leads to a sculptural reception desk.

The ground floor is also the location of Tides, the signature restaurant and café, known for its brimming display of homemade baked goods, helmed by local star chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason, the chef behind the internationally renowned, Michelin starred New Nordic restaurant Dill. Among the chef’s modern interpretation of Icelandic cuisine are dishes such as whole Arctic char stuffed with lemon, dill and garlic butter and lamb shoulder braised and slow grilled with pickled onions, mint and apples. On the opposite side of the restaurant is Tölt, a bar intended as a cozy hideaway designed with custom, colorful rugs, teak tambour walls and burnt orange banquettes plus floor to ceiling windows looking out at the striking glass architecture of Harpa. Upstairs on the 7th floor, The Roof provides panoramic views of the ocean, city, mountains and on nights when they appear, the real Northern Lights.

Upstairs, the rooms also have floor to ceiling windows to take in the views and a soothing design: a muted palette of ash wood and pale grey oak, contemporary Italian custom-made furniture, copper bed light sconces, faux fur rugs, and artwork and accessories from local craftsmen such as the colorful bed throw by local wool company, Ístex, ceramics by artist Guðbjörg Káradóttir, and in room art by famous Icelandic artists Pall Stefansson and Ragnar Axelsson showcasing Icelandic landscapes commissioned by EDITION.

Two other areas within the hotel are designed to be very popular gathering spots—but may or may not be open at any given time due to changing COVID-19 restrictions.  Sunset, the lower level club, is intended to be a vibrant addition to the city’s nightlife while the Spa has a Geothermal pool in addition to treatment rooms, hammam and hydrotherapy plunge pool. And since this is Iceland where even the Blue Lagoon has a bar adjacent to the pool, the EDITION has a bar near the Geothermal pool specializing in vodka infusions.

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